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WASHINGTON, D.C., July 22, 2008 – Today’s decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is unfortunate and may lead to the release of inaccurate, unsubstantiated information about tires and automotive equipment.
Much of the information filed under the early warning reporting system often consists of raw and often unverified allegations. As a consequence, it is extremely likely that some consumers’ claims will in fact turn out to have been mistaken. However, tire manufacturers must report these unsubstantiated allegations because the Early Warning Reporting System requires only “minimal specificity” for filing claims.
Additionally, the system does not allow tire manufacturers to correct data even if it is discovered that a particular consumer claim was unjustified or was made against the wrong tire company.
Due to the fact that this information includes mere unsubstantiated claims, this raw, early warning data should not be considered by consumers to be an accurate gauge of performance or reliability for any tire. Early warning information is appropriately reported to the nation’s highway safety agency that has the ability and resources to evaluate and analyze the data for potential safety issues.
Should officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration find that a safety investigation is warranted, the public should then be notified so that remedial action can be considered.
With this decision, unverified information released by the government can be misinterpreted and thereby unnecessarily alarm motorists about products that are safe. At the same time, safety regulators will be forced to needlessly expend finite public resources responding to such public alarm generated by the raw and unverified allegations.
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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include more than 80 companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. All RMA press releases are available at www.rma.org.